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Falling upward: A spirituality for the two halves of life

Jossey-Bass, 2011
RRP $24.99

Reviewed by Graham MacKay.

Mr Rohr develops ideas in this book that have been emerging in his teaching ministry.

He looks at life as a whole and sees that we should be experiencing an important transition around the ages of 35 to 55.

In our earlier life we should be building a strong “container” or identity based on our perceived significance, developing relationships and how we support ourselves , while our later lives find the contents that the container was meant to hold.

Another image is we should be writing the text of our lives in the first half and in the second half be writing the commentary on that text.

The trouble is we aren’t doing a good job at either stage and he feels the church is not setting a very good example.

Mr Rohr shares much of his own journey in transitioning into the second half of life and what that has meant for him.

He is strongly influenced by the universal hero literature where you leave home on a journey that has highs and lows that transform you and you come back home a very different person, understanding much more of who you are and why you are here.

To this end he constantly comes back to the legend of Odysseus.

Mr Rohr admits Falling Upward is not for everyone but essential reading for those who want to deepen their spiritual journey.

The best use of this book would be in a discussion group as there is so much to share and react to.

It will help revisit and transform our life stories.

It could also challenge faith communities to introduce some new experiences across the ages for their members.

Mr Rohr leaves us with the reality that our second journey is all ours to walk or to avoid.